Following a hacking scandal that involved nude celebrity photos being leaked online, Apple's chief executive officer has spearheaded a new campaign to address policy changes, explain just how personal information is handled at the company, and provide guidelines on making online accounts secure.
Tim Cook, the CEO at Apple, published a letter on Apple's Privacy page in an effort to make Apple appear more transparent and said he plans to publish additional updates (at least once a year) about how Apple prioritises users' privacy or whenever there is a mjaor change to policies.
Cook also recently discussed the company's privacy record with Charlie Rose on PBS Network. Many of the topics covered in Cook's new letter simply reiterate the comments he made during that interview. He told Rose Apple held "a very different view" when it came to privacy, for instance, especially compared to other Silicon Valley giants that collect and leverage customer data (likely a jab at Google).
In his letter to costumers, Cook made the same point: ""We don't build a profile based on your email content or Web browsing habits to sell to advertisers. We don't 'monetize' the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud. And we don't read your email or your messages to get information to market to you".
"A few years ago, users of Internet services began to realize that when an online service is free, you're not the customer. You're the product," Cook added. "But at Apple, we believe a great customer experience shouldn't come at the expense of your privacy."
Apple always asks for permission before using information, Cook emphasised, and if users change their mind, Apple wants to make it easier for them to stop sharing their information. Apple is therefore making a change, in which it'll encrypt user's personal data on devices running iOS 8. That means information, such as photos, messages, email, contacts, etc, will be protected by a passcode, and Apple cannot access it. In previous versions of iOS, only a device's email was encrypted.
Cook also encouraged costumers to back up their devices to iCloud but warned them about phishing scams. Apple had revealed earlier this month that celebrities' iCloud accounts were compromised when hackers correctly guessed security questions, among other things, to obtain their passwords and IDs.